So, here’s what not to do when you finish up a story. I mean, like, it’s a very elementary thing to do.
Literally, I did this in elementary school.
I came across one of my super old “short” stories that I wrote back in the day (probably circa 3rd grade), and, though the plot was superb and the characterization factor was above sub-par, there was this one tiny… actually, big thing that caught my attention.
The stupid final line of the whole god damn thing that just read, literally, “Then eyes opened.”
Like, oh my gosh, if this were actually a published novel that I happened to read all the way to the end… and then got that?
I think I would have to fork my own liver out.
Okay, okay, if you don’t quite get what “then eyes opened” even means, rest assured I probably wouldn’t either unless I wrote the thing. Which… I did, so I can tell you that it actually means that then every single character woke up from some crazy dream at the very moment that the story was hitting its climax.
And, just like a woman suddenly waking up right as she’s hitting climax to realize that her fantasy is, unfortunately, just that—a fantasy, I was sorely disappointed.
Like, you guys, this should be a rule… NEVER END YOUR STORY IN THE LAZIEST WAY YOU CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE. Alternatively, use that crazy, great imagination for more active and involved things, such as… oh, I don’t know, maybe writing a real ending.
I know I’m ranting a little at this point, but I really wish I could go back in time and straggle nine year-old me as I’m about to pen in that last line on the middle page of my notebook.
If your readers work to get to that last page, and they put time aside for your book, for you… then they deserve a good ending. No, not even just a good ending… they deserve… fireworks!
Don’t get lazy on any part of your writing, of course, but especially don’t get lazy on your endings. The end is like… it’s like desert, and your whole book is the three course meal. You work your way to get to desert, and the cheese curds and bacon burgers were great, but by the time you get there, by golly, you better get that banana pudding ice cream cone with caramel syrup and sprinkles on top!
Also, we read to escape. You know, to get out of normal, boring, regular life. We want to be taken on an amazing journey when we pick up a book, and we don’t want nor need that journey to end short. If you pull us out mid-climax, when we’re the most hooked on anything we’ve ever been on, then we’re just gonna be reminded of the boring lives we live. And then, of course, we’re gonna be left mad, angry, furious. And also… dissatisfied.
So, please, homedogs, don’t make the same mistake pre-teen me did. Don’t get lazy with your writing, and don’t ever spoil the journey for your readers.
I mean, like, last night, I was going to get a drink from downstairs, and then I swear I saw this bear on the other side of the front door, and then I went to take a closer look, but then there was this glowing, alien being in the corner of my eye, and then I turned slowly back around, but then it jumped in front of me, green arms reaching for my cheeks, and then I backed up into the wall, and then a cluster of floating Walmart bags swooped in behind it, probably to rescue me or something, but then… my eyes opened.